My ad on Craigslist seeking a Rooster Catcher finally got some action, and gave me some hope of ridding my yard of the two roosters that are plaguing me. They crow all day starting at 3 am (still night for me), they scratch in my garden and uproot my crops, and they startle me out of my naps. Jeremiah responded to my ad, saying that he has a chicken farm south of Hilo and wants to expand his breeding stock.
But first he had some questions. “What kind of roosters are these?”
I have no idea what kind of birds these are: “One is brown and one is white with black tail feathers.”
“Can I come at night and just pick them off their roosts?” I explained that he has to get them while they are trespassing on my property. “Can you talk to the owner and ask?” No, because she claims not to own them.
I could hear the frustration in his voice. “How much are you paying?”
“I’m paying $40 for each rooster, to remove them permanently from the neighborhood. You can have whatever hens you catch too, but I’m not paying for them.”
That put a new light on the situation, and Jeremiah agreed to come up and look at them. But he couldn’t make it until Thursday or Friday, as he teaches Fire Dancing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Wow, a fire dancing chicken farmer – the most interesting people live here.
He and his cousin Bruce showed up on Friday, complete with cages, twine, and coconut (chickens love coconut – who knew?). I showed them around the yard and they decided to stake out a spot on the side of the house where the hens scratch and the roosters crow. As they set up and baited the cage with coconut, I asked some questions – I wanted to know about the fire dancing. These were a couple of white guys – haoles. How did they get into fire dancing?
It turns out Jeremiah ran a dance troupe in the Chicago area. When he moved here last year, he transferred his skills to dancing with fire and to teaching it; Bruce is now one of his students. In fact they landed a gig in China and will be going in six months. I had to know more: “I don’t mean to be rude, but what do the Chinese want with a couple of haoles when they could bring over the real deal?” He explained that their style of fire dancing is really a light show. They go on in black outfits complete with black masks, and perform in the dark. They only thing the audience sees is the fire.
Then I found out that while he worked in Chicago, he lived in Racine for a time, our old home town. We chatted about Racine restaurants, the harbor, and snow while we swatted mosquitoes. The world gets smaller all the time.
They said they’d be back at 4 pm, hoping that the roosters (and not the hens) would be in the cages. Meanwhile they were going down to Waipio Valley to fish and surf. When they got back, they had no fish, no hens, and no roosters either. We decided to have them leave the cages and I could call them once the chickens were captured. What happens if we get one? Won’t it raise sand? “Yes, but just throw a towel over the cage and the chicken will go to sleep.” With that, they left, or so I thought.
A little while later they were back, all smiles. They had gone to the owner of the building across the street, ground zero for those birds, and got permission to go on the property to take the roosters. All right – now we are making some progress!
About 30 minutes later they came back again, sans roosters. They had actually gone to the hotel next to the building with the chickens. The hotel owners were VERY happy to have them take the roosters. But the roosters weren’t their property. Jeremiah and Bruce nearly got run off the chicken property – had a lot of fast explaining to do. But they did get the real story.
It turns out that the lady over there really doesn’t own the chickens or the building. She rents from the owner. A former renter who did own the chickens abruptly left and abandoned them. The building owner and the lady felt sorry for them. So the owner buys the feed and gives it to the lady to feed the chickens. Their reasons for wanting them are 1) eggs and 2) they eat the Coqui frogs. But you don’t need roosters for either one of those things, as the guys pointed out to her.
On top of that, Jeremiah and Bruce informed me that there were actually seven roosters on the property, including four cockerels. I only wanted them to catch the brown and the white rooster – they are the ones that come over with their harems and disturb my naps.
I’m not willing to pay $280 to rid the neighborhood of all the roosters. But the guys pointed out that once the alpha roosters are gone, the younger ones will take over and do the same thing. Sure enough, I saw a younger rooster with his harem of hens across the street yesterday. It’s only a matter of time before he crosses the road. Lord save me.
The lady is going to call Jeremiah after she talks to the building owner to find out if he’s okay with the guys taking just the roosters. If he is, they can come get them. (My guess is that they will take all seven, even if I only pay for two.) If the owner is not okay, I’m screwed because Bruce said that the chicken parties claim the property is zoned agricultural. That would mean it’s legal for them to have hens and roosters. Arrggh! How can it be zoned agricultural when it’s on the main street in Honoka’a? I will check with the County Planning Department – at least I now know where to go for information. But it could indeed be zoned for agriculture. Welcome to Hawai’i.
I still have one recourse – get them while they are trespassing. But I noticed that the chickens were not over this weekend – maybe the lady is caging them. I should also meet with the hotel owners and get their thoughts. I wonder if slingshots are legal.
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